Archive | August, 2014

Potential catastrophe averted in Presidential Heights fire

27 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

 

More details will emerge here, but The Eye has learned that the fire at 13 Madison Ave in West Peabody last night was no ordinary garage fire. Turns out that the owner of the property was likely storing a large amount of chemicals in the structure as part of a swimming pool service company.

FF

The fire caused a strong odor, and a series of small, but frightening explosions before the Peabody Fire Department arrived.

 

Were it not for an outstanding job by the PFD, this could have spread to nearby homes, resulted in major property loss, and perhaps injuries to residents living in this Presidential Heights neighborhood.

 

“You could see the black smoke and the smell was really bad,” a neighborhood resident told us this morning. “There were a few explosions as well. It was very frightening.”

 

According to city records, the property is owned by Joseph Carpenito, who also owns Pools Unlimited. On its website, the company lists 13 Madison Ave as its office.

Below is a Google Earth image that shows the location. Note the close proximity of other homes. The large garage that burned is to the back right of the property.

madison

Best wishes on a fast recovery for Councilor At-Large Anne Manning-Martin

18 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Councilor Anne Manning-Martin

Councilor At-Large Anne Manning-Martin

Over the years, we’ve been friends and foes, agreed on some issues, disagreed on many others. But one thing I will always say or write is that Anne Manning-Martin always votes in the best interests of those residents she serves as a councilor at-large.

So, with that, I just wanted to wish Anne a speedy recovery from major back surgery, and hope that she’s back doing the business of the people of Peabody soon as possible.

After all, let’s face it, there are only two current Peabody City Councilors who are always on the side of the people they represent: Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz, and Anne.

By the way, the back surgery Manning-Martin underwent, was no minor matter.

“I really wasn’t supposed to walk again. It was kind of a Hail Mary operation,” Manning-Martin told the Salem News this week. “I just consider myself lucky and blessed.”

And Peabody residents will be lucky to have her back in there fighting for them again real soon.

Dunne accepts offer to appear on ‘You Make The Call,’ Moutsoulas declines

18 Aug

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Will talk to voters on "You Make The Ca;;" on Aug. 27th

Beverley Dunne: Will talk to voters on “You Make The Call” on Aug. 27th

The intention was to conduct a forum between the two Democratic candidates for Peabody’s State Rep in the 12th Essex District. But it looks like just one will accept the invitation to speak to Peabody residents on the “You Make The Call” cable access show on Wednesday, Aug. 27th.

School Committee member Beverley Griffin Dunne has accepted the invitation to talk to Peabody residents, while Ward 3 Councilor Jim Moutsoulas declined because of what he called conflicting engagements.

Although we’ll still welcome Moutsoulas on the show, should he change his mind, right now it looks like the entire hour (8-9 p.m., on PAT Ch. 99) will be spent talking exclusively with Dunne, who is making her second run at the 12th District seat,currently held by Republican Leah Cole.

We also plan to post a video of the Aug. 27th show here on The Eye, and on Facebook.

Dunne and Moutsoulas will square off in the Sept. 9th Democratic primary, with the prize being a match up with Cole in November. We also plan to invite the finalists for the seat on a future show following the primary.

Please continue passing the word about this opportunity to see and hear from at least one candidate for Peabody State Rep. We’ll be taking your calls that night. We’ve also been asking for questions here in the comments section.

State Rep Democratic candidates invited to debate on ‘You Make The Call’

14 Aug

By Eye on Peabody

Dunne

Beverley Dunne

Jim Moutsoulas

Jim Moutsoulas

“You Make The Call,” Peabody’s longest-running public access cable show on local politics, is inviting the two Democratic candidates for State Rep in the 12th Essex District to debate the issues live on Wednesday, Aug. 27th, 8-9 p.m. on PAT Ch. 99.

YMTC co-host Bob Croce will moderate the forum between School Committee member Beverley Dunne, and Ward 3 Councilor James “Demo” Moutsoulas, who will square off in the Sept. 9th Democratic primary, with the winner facing Republican incumbent Leah Cole in November’s final election.

The format for the forum will include calls from the viewing audience.

We’re also soliciting questions from our Eye on Peabody audience, so please use the comments section to let us know what’s on your mind.

We’ll have more details here as they become available.

More housing downtown doesn’t equal a sensible plan for revitalization

1 Aug

Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

If you saw the local Beverly-based “newspaper” with Salem at the front of its name this morning, you might have thought that Peabody Square is now a trendy place to live,just like South Beach in Miami, or in one of those million dollar lofts above some shop on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

SquareThere is was, a huge spread, complete with room-by-room photos of new postage-stamp-sized apartments at 11 Main Street. But there are granite countertops, so who am I to talk?

There are also panoramic views of Peabody Square out the windows , where you can watch the sunset over lovely beauty shops, liquor stores, and vacant store fronts. I’m sure this will cause young professionals to flock in a frenzy to rent these new digs.

First off, congrats to developer Norman Lee for talking the local bugle into a huge kiss-ass spread on what are essentially 11 small apartments that might be occupied by middle to lower-middle class residents who are looking for affordable housing. Then again, as someone who previously worked for small, struggling newspapers, my guess here is that this article  was one of those “bought-and-paid-for” services. The newspaper in question, after all, is on death’s door, so why not disguise paid content as real news once in a while?

But I digress.

The reason for my rant this morning is that, what you see at 11 Main Street is right now Peabody’s idea of how we should re-vitalize the downtown. Let’s jump at every chance to allow willing developers to turn old, dilapidated spaces into small one-bedroom apartments. Yeah, right, that’ll bring people with money to spend into the downtown.

We’ve seen this before with those ugly apartments on Walnut Street, and seen other greedy, slip-shot developers come and go before the city council requesting special permits to build “lavish” apartments. As a way to re-develop downtown, this strategy has failed miserably while adding to the city’s stock of Section 8 housing.

I’m not saying that  Lee is “slipshod” or “greedy.” After all, he’s a businessman, and he saw an opportunity. These teeny-tiny apartments look kind of nice from the kiss-ass photos I saw, but why would “young professionals” want to live in Peabody Square right now?

I come back to this again and again in this space, but the beat goes on when it comes to Peabody not having an overall strategy to turn things around downtown. Someone in community development needs to FINALLY understand that turning prime locations in the downtown into lower income housing is NOT the way you create economic development that will have a positive impact on our tax base and our community.

We continue to have what amounts to ill-advised patch-work tactics rather than an actual, sustainable, actionable community development plan. We have a passionate mayor who I feel truly wants to get things rolling downtown in an effort to create more revenue for the city, and take some of the burden off residential payers. But then we also have a community development department that totally lacks vision.

So, we all watch as our taxes rise, and we continue to approve unsightly billboards as a way to create much-needed revenue for infrastructural  improvements, a much-needed new middle school, and to pay for a regional vocational school that is part grandiose educational facility, part scam to feed the state’s hack-o-rama.

So, congrats to Mr. Lee on his wondrous new apartments, which I hear have a trendy new address: 17 Peabody Square. After all, it’s not his fault that this is what passes in Peabody for sensible city planning.